My hometown paper, The Chicago Tribune had a great little article on an anti-dumping case involving dry cleaner hangers. It’s interesting because everyone who takes their clothes to the dry cleaners will feel the pain of the ITC’s (International Trade Commission) ruling. Our government ruled in favor of the hanger producers here in the US and imposed anywhere from a 33% to a 164.5% duty, according to the ITC.
What does that mean for Joe laundry goer? Well, a box of pant hangers was $24 six months ago, according to the Tribune article and is now $50, because that is the going rate of hangers made by American producers. Dry cleaners are either eating that cost or passing it onto the consumer. We have published several posts on the ill effects these ITC decisions have on global trade and more important, inflation here in the US here in the US. When you cut off imports, domestic producers increase prices which causes inflation. Inflation causes people to reign in spending and that is exactly what the government does not want you to do. So why do we continue to listen to these anti-dumping claims? Because Big Steel and their specialty steel producer brethren have perfected the art of using these antiquated laws to their advantage.
What was perhaps the most interesting element of the article, however, were all of the comments suggesting that dry cleaners ought to reward customers for bringing back and recycling hangers. What a great idea, though my dry cleaner refused to pay me or rebate me anything for returning hangers when I recently offered to. Perhaps she has a cheap Korean source? Well, I’m sure the US producers will put the kibosh on that soon.